A Touch of Enduring Beauty

Flash back about 30 years. It is obvious to me, as the staff head of the maintenance crew, that some of the concrete sidewalk snaking between the Barn and Cadbury Court needs replacement. So I gather a small crew of maintenance staff and a student or two, and we set to work: we break up the old pavement, install wood forms, lay down a bed of gravel, and then pour, level, and trowel the concrete mix to a rough finish.

But Wait! There is one more step. Our team has selected samples of leaves and ferns, and now we carefully implant these "instant fossils" into the wet concrete. What a lovely "green" embellishment to last for years!

Now it is time for lunch, so our crew cleans up the tools and heads for Main House. As I prepare to join them, several youngsters from the neighborhood come by and attempt to scratch their initials, or whatever, into the fresh concrete. I spring to the defense of our handiwork and fend them off. In fact, I skip lunch and keep my vigil that afternoon, maintaining the integrity of our masterpiece until the concrete has hardened.

And now, 30 years on, during the 80th Pendle Hill anniversary, I spy several of the concrete sections still there, proudly displaying their "fossilized" charms.

Robin Harper

Robin Harper is a member of Providence Meeting in Media, Pa. With several decades of experience in home construction, he joined the Pendle Hill staff in 1976 to serve as head of maintenance of the buildings and grounds. By the time he left in 1987 he had assumed responsibilities as coordinator of Long Range Planning, helping Pendle Hill to shape its emerging plans for major renovations and new construction.